A 2-year-old DNA-sexed female Congo African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) was evaluated for self-trauma of the feathers and skin of the tail base for a duration of more than 1 year. All rectrices and tail coverts were missing, the skin of the tail base was thickened and ulcerated, and the uropygial gland was swollen. Results of a complete blood cell count revealed relative monocytosis and basophilia. Survey radiographs showed truncation and lysis of the caudal vertebrae and pygostyle. Results of biopsy and bacterial culture of the tail base lesions revealed an ulcerative bacterial dermatitis positive for staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type IV (community-acquired) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The bird was treated with oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, meloxicam, fluoxetine, topical lidocaine gel, and hydrotherapy. One month later, tail feather regrowth was evident; however, follow-up over 2 years found continued self-trauma to the rectrices in spite of repeated skin biopsies negative for MRSA or other bacteria. It is unknown if the MRSA cultured from this bird was commensal or acquired from either the environment or humans to which the bird was exposed.
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Vol. 22 • No. 4